Here we are again, gathered around to see where our favourite classic cocktails rank in the 50 top classic cocktails. Those who bet on the Negroni winning the number one spot are, indeed, winners.
Each year, Drinks International releases its Cocktail Report to tell us what classic drinks are hot and what aren't (or at least not as much...). The list is based on a survey of 100 bars from 33 countries.
So what's the big deal? Hamish Smith, the Supplement Editor for Drinks International, points out that "off menu classics are somewhere between 20% and 50% of most bars' cocktail sales." If you don't already know, that's what you'll probably be making the most of.
Lists like these are great for making riffs on classics for your next bar menu team meeting.
Smith also points out that classics aren't as staid as you might think. Drinks created in the past can give you an idea of what's in vogue now. Smith says they're always being polished, "their specs chiseled and embellished to fit the trends."
There are a few drinks on Smith's list that are neo-classics (the Old Cuban, Pornstar Martini, Penicillin), but one of the most interesting points he raises is that there are no new classics since 2011. While the industry is more sophisticated now, Smith says that drinks are still lacking some of the basics of classic cocktails.
The reason isn't that bartenders don't know how to make classics, he explains, "but rather that the industry has taken them away from what it takes to make classics stick - repeatability.".
Legacy, of course, comes into play here. In the same way that bartenders from the past generation are part of the profession's history, will the names of the present generation of bartenders be lost? The things that make bartenders famous now, like competition wins and Instagram numbers, will they last?
You can read Hamish Smith's article on what makes a classic and see the cocktails on the list in more detail at Cocktail Report